MESA, Ariz. -- Opening Day is exactly three weeks away, and Thursday's matchup at Hohokam Stadium very well could resurface March 29 at the Oakland Coliseum.In a rare occurrence -- especially this early in the spring -- the Angels sent over a lineup chock-full of starters, perhaps even their Opening
MESA, Ariz. -- Opening Day is exactly three weeks away, and Thursday's matchup at Hohokam Stadium very well could resurface March 29 at the Oakland Coliseum.
In a rare occurrence -- especially this early in the spring -- the Angels sent over a lineup chock-full of starters, perhaps even their Opening Day lineup, to face right-hander Kendall Graveman, who very well could be named the A's Opening Day starter soon.
"I thought it was good for everyone. It puts into perspective where you're at," Graveman said of facing the likes of Ian Kinsler, Michael Trout, Justin Upton and Jose Pujols in a 7-3 victory for Oakland.
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When the A's first saw the opposing lineup at 8:30 a.m. MT, Graveman was presented with the option of instead taking the mound in an intrasquad game at the club's Minor League complex. He wasn't having that.
"I wanted to go out there and wanted to see where my stuff is at," Graveman said. "It's a good lineup over there. They've done a good job putting together that lineup."
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Graveman gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Five of the six Angels batters in Graveman's 35-pitch first inning saw at least five pitches. Kinsler and Trout both walked on full-count pitches to lead off the game.
"It didn't go the way I planned it in the first," Graveman said. "But to go back out and have a quick second and a decent third, I think you take that and build off that and move forward. The biggest thing next outing is in the first inning to get ahead of that thing without 30 pitches.
"The only thing I was disappointed in was the two walks to start the game. You take those away, and it's a totally different outing. For me, looking back at it, that was the biggest thing. I have to go into a game prepared to throw strikes."
Both Kinsler and Trout scored in the first, and Kinsler doubled and scored in the third.
"After the first inning it was a lot better," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "If he was missing, he was missing by like an inch. ... It's a nice little test to go out and face this lineup."
Davis in left
Khris Davis isn't expected to see a ton of time in the outfield in the regular season, but on Thursday he started his fifth game in left compared to three as the A's designated hitter.
That will continue even as the season steadily approaches.
"You look at the lineup and he would be the DH, but that doesn't mean he's not going to spend some time in left," Melvin said. "He does a nice job tracking fly balls, and he's really working on his arm this year. I think his arm is better this year."
Davis, for his part, hasn't resigned to just being a bat after he played the field in 116 games last season.
"It's been impressive to see a guy that is forecasted to be a DH continue to work like he has," Melvin said of Davis, who belted a two-run triple against the Angels.
Out of options and seeking to claim what could be the final bench spot, the versatile Mark Canha played in his third straight game and fourth in five days. It was a product of how well he's swung the bat.
"The more at-bats he gets the better he looks," Melvin said before the game. "And the last three games he's swung the bat really well. When he's healthy, he can be a productive guy."
Canha, who can play at first base and in the outfield, was 4-for-7 with a double and a home run in the previous three games. He went 1-for-3 and collected his fourth RBI against the Angels.
Canha seemingly is battling Jake Smolinski and Boog Powell for a roster spot.
"There's a battle. There's only going to be so many spots on our bench," Melvin said. "Whether it's four or three, not really sure at this point. But if it's three, can't take them all."
Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Athletics on Thursday.